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Update: State Dept Response to our Letter on Oil Sands August 21, 2009

Posted by Morgan in clinton, oilsands, state department, tcktcktck.
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Many of you saw the letter the Action Factory wrote yesterday in response to the State Dept approval of the Clipper Pipeline border crossing.

Today we met with two officials with the Oceans, Environment and Science department, one of the departments that worked on the Clipper pipeline project. While the officials avoided giving us their names or positions, we imagine that one works in PR while the other is more policy focused. They thanked us for our wonderful visual skits and the over 10,000 phone calls and emails Avaaz.org generated. They emphasized that we should have gotten involved earlier, during the public comment part of the two year process, where over 6000 stakeholders submitted their opinions.

The PR guy emphasized that the US plan to reduce oil emissions centers around CAFE standards and what a great improvement we’ve had in that area. He said that we should bring the Tar Sands Monster skit to an Escalade factory if we really want to make a difference. The woman, who was sorry to have missed the skit, said that the next pipeline project has already started the approval process, and they expect the public comment period to be open in December or January. They both also pointed out that their role was more approving the crossing of the U.S. border, but that there were various other regulatory agencies that needed to sign off on the pipeline as well.

Our biggest question: What kind of a signal do you send the world, as we near the Copenhagen climate negotiations, when we approve a major expansion in international dirty energy infrastructure? Answer: We need to make decision in the ‘here and now’ and not for their symbolic power. They added that because of the close cooperation on this project and the negotiating that went on, Canada will be under more pressure to come to Copenhagen ready to negotiate. (more…)

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Breaking news: State Department Issues Permit for Alberta Clipper Pipeline August 20, 2009

Posted by Morgan in clinton, oilsands, state department.
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Approval means 450,000 barrels of dirty, climate destroying oil will flow into the US daily

The decision sat on Clinton’s desk for months, and with a stroke of the pen, she could have denied this expansion of dirty energy infrastructure. But today, the State Department issued the permit, committing the US to more CO2 emissions from oil, and committing Canada to more destruction of indigenous lands and Boreal forest. We brought the Tar Sands Monster to Clinton’s doorstep, generated thousands of phone calls and emails, but Clinton failed to make the right decision.

From the State Department:

After considerable review and evaluation, on August 20, 2009, the Department issued a Presidential Permit to Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership for the Alberta Clipper pipeline.

Yet they insist that the US and Canada are committed to finding climate solutions:

The State Department will continue to work to ensure that both the United States and Canada take ambitious action to address climate change, and will cooperate with the Canadian government through the U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue, the pursuit of comprehensive climate legislation, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Avaaz Action Factory will deliver this letter to the state department tomorrow. Please help us by sending them an email using this as a starting point. secretary@state.gov (more…)

Ooh, it’s hot out here! There’s too much carbon in the atmosphere! August 17, 2009

Posted by Morgan in climate refugees, clinton, state department, tcktcktck.
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I knew it would be hot and humid during our 24-hour campout in front of the State Department, but the utter devastation of the DC summer always manages to surprise me. What keeps me going is thinking about the millions of real climate refugees out there who don’t have the luxury of taking a break to get a cup of coffee in an air-conditioned café. Also, we’ve been received really well here, which is invigorating!

When we set up camp 50 yards from the State Department staff entrance at seven o’clock this morning, there was the usual kafuffle with the police arriving and trying to figure out what they could kick us out for. When they found nothing (except for lowering the tops of our makeshift tents to make us look less like we’re camping), they backed off and those that stayed became very friendly and have just been spending the day with us. Even later, when an employee from inside the building called the police asking them to remove us, they came over here and told us that we were doing nothing wrong and to keep up the good work!

Most employees walking by have been very receptive though, and we ran out of our 500 flyers within the first three hours because everyone was so enthusiastically taking them. We’ve gotten lots of smiles, a few peace signs, and just generally feel pretty appreciated which really helps motivate us to keep going.

When we went inside to deliver a letter with our message, a representative from the office of Todd Stern, the US leading climate negotiator for COP 15, came down to talk with us. She said that they recognized us from our previous actions (Clinton’s Big Decision on Tar Sands and Todd Stern Needs High Fives) and that they’re happy we’re here. Another lady walking by let us know that she works closely with Stern’s office and that they know we’re here, they know our message, and they appreciate our work.

Even just this much would have made it feel worth it to me, but then the press started to arrive. We staged an informational interview about climate refugees for CNN, cleanskies.tvnews, and Local Channel 9, who covered our entire action with three huge cameras on tripods. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of coverage comes out of that; I really hope this issue gets some of the recognition it deserves.

Please keep following us on twitter @actionfactorydc and watching our blog for updates, because we’ll be here all night. As one passer-by advised us, we’re sticking around and not cutting them any slack!

Secretary Clinton, be a leader! Recognize and protect climate refugees at COP15.

Bonner and Ass. Pissed us Off August 6, 2009

Posted by Morgan in bonner and associates, naked fraud.
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Bonner and Associates pissed us off, so a few of us at the Action Factory, a group of young climate activists living and working in DC, took our clothes off in the rain to demonstrate the NAKED FRAUD of this astroturf lobbying firm.
Bonner and associate, who were working for the Hawthorne Group, whom in turn were working for American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, forged not 1, not 6, but 12 letters to not 1 but 3 congressmen. All three of these companies are outraged, claiming to have fired the ‘deviant’ employee who supposedly acted on his or her own. They were so ‘outraged’ that they didn’t notify the congressmen who received these letters. They were so ‘outraged’ that they even forgot that Bonner has been caught using almost the same tactics before, making them look very stupid for hiring them in the first place. That’s pretty much blind with outrage.

Once the intense anger of the moment subsided, we grabbed a camera and headed back to Bonner’s office first thing Monday morning to get to the bottom of this. Keep in mind, we’re not professional journalists, and I apologize in advance if our ‘outrage’ clouds our judgment on ethical conduct. But, I think that you’ll enjoy joining us on this search for democracy. Bonner and Associates seems to have stolen it, so it only made sense to start looking at the scene of the crime…

Some thoughts:
*People seem pretty unsure of whether forging letters is illegal
*We’re not legal experts – what are the legal consequences for mail fraud? forging names and signatures? Lying to congress?

Aliens, Wizards, and Other Made-Up People Oppose Green Jobs August 5, 2009

Posted by Morgan in bonner and associates, naked fraud.
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Bonner and Associates (ahem, Hawthorne Group, ahem, ACCCE) couldn’t find enough real people to oppose clean energy and green jobs legislation. In fact, the management wouldn’t take that ‘no’ for an answer, and pushed their employees to commit outright mail fraud instead.

(C’mon, seriously, Tom Periello knows the folks who work for the NAACP chapter in his district. He’s gonna notice. – catch his interview on Rachel Maddow last night.)

So today, we decided to help the coal industry out a little bit by showing them that made-up people and creatures can have a say in politics! We dressed up as aliens, a wizard, and Little Red Riding Hood and passed out the Sierra Club’s hill add to hill staffers getting out of the subway. “Hey, help us kill green jobs!”

Its a testament to hill staffers that at least some of them replied, “No, I like green jobs.” Apparently irony isn’t the best tactic at 9am. But making up the names of people who oppose climate change legislation? Never a good tactic.

For Obama’s Birthday: A Ticket to Copenhagen August 5, 2009

Posted by Morgan in obama to copenhagen.
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For his 48th birthday today, President Obama received a giant ticket to Copenhagen from Avaaz’s DC Action Factory. In a street party outside his house – complete with party hats, noisemakers, and music – cardboard cut-out Obama received his birthday gift with a smile. He even blew out all the candles on his special Copenhagen-themed birthday danishes in one breath! (He wished for a strong and binding global climate treaty.)


This December, the President will use his thoughtful birthday present to fly to the UN global climate treaty negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark. There, he will once again define the United States as a world leader and safeguard this earth for his daughters, Sasha and Malia, their generation, and those to come. And he’ll eat more danishes.

At least, that’s what we hope he’ll do. The Copenhagen negotiations are the world’s chance to work together to cut carbon and solve global warming. If America is to be a true world leader, Obama must show up with bells on. His cardboard cut-out was optimistic today, stating that he would accompany his negotiating team, including Todd Stern and Jonathan Pershing, to the negotiations this December. But we at the DC Action Factory would like to hear the real Obama commit to attending the treaty talks.

Happy Birthday Obama! Obama to Copenhagen!